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Dr Andrea Jeffery, Chief Nursing Officer at Linnaeus

Dr Andrea Jeffery, Chief Nursing Officer at Linnaeus

Accredited Anaesthesia Training Leads The Way For Nurses At Linnaeus

4 months ago

26th January, 2022 12h18

Linnaeus Group

More than 450 Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) at Linnaeus – one of the UK’s leading veterinary groups – attended its in-house anaesthesia training in 2021. The training is accredited by the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists (AVA) and is free for RVNs.

Linnaeus introduced a new primary care nursing anaesthesia course in January 2021, with 360 RVNs taking part last year. A further 107 RVNs joined the Referral Nurse Professional Development Programme (RNPD) in Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2021 – the course has welcomed several cohorts since it was launched in October 2020.

Both courses cover areas including auditing, patient care, anaesthetic monitoring and analgesia, and will continue into 2022 due to their popularity. The RNPD is expected to take place twice this year, while the primary care course will welcome monthly cohorts to support smaller groups more frequently.

The training was developed by Claire Roberts and Vicky Ford-Fennah, both RVNs within the Linnaeus central support veterinary nursing team (CSVNT), following the launch of the group’s unique nursing strategy in 2020. The strategy includes a framework for advancement and skills development.

After surveying RVNs about their ambitions for progression, anaesthesia was identified as an area for development. To make the training fully accessible, it combines virtual sessions with on-site applied learning where required.

Dr Andrea Jeffery, Chief Nursing Officer at Linnaeus, commented:

“Our nurses deserve fulfilling long-term careers at Linnaeus. We want to ensure that they are fully utilised in their roles and can progress in their areas of interest.

“Having spoken to our RVNs, the feedback was clear – they wanted to learn more about anaesthesia. Because we have a team dedicated to professional development for nurses, with the support of our clinical teams we could develop and deliver training on the topic, supporting more than 450 colleagues last year alone.

“The courses will continue into 2022, helping even more RVNs to develop their skills and confidence in anaesthesia.”

The three-month primary care anaesthesia course comprises nine modules, covering 25 hours of CPD. Casey Plain, a veterinary nurse at Linnaeus-owned St. Clair Veterinary Group in Fife, completed the training in November 2021. She said:

“I signed up for the course to top up my learning and stay up to date with best practice in anaesthesia. I have learnt a lot about lower flow, and how to monitor this appropriately. The training also provided lots of information about improving patient care.

“Overall, the course has increased my confidence in anaesthesia. It’s also helped me to strive for better patient care, which will help my colleagues at St. Clair and the pets that we look after.”

The RNPD in Anaesthesia and Analgesia is a four-month course, equating to 40 hours of CPD. Dr Alex Dugdale, an RCVS and EBVS specialist in anaesthesia and analgesia at Linnaeus-owned Paragon Veterinary Referrals, has noticed the positive impact of the course. Alex said:

“Our nurses are the backbone of the Paragon team, and their work is critical to the care and outcomes of our patients. This training has enabled our RVNs to take a more active role in anaesthesia – becoming more involved in discussions and decisions about our patients. Setting and following best practice in anaesthesia not only supports the nurses’ personal development; it benefits the whole team.”

Due to the ongoing roll-out of targeted clinical training programmes offered by Linnaeus, its CSVNT team has expanded with the appointment of two further nursing professional development managers.

Alison Mann previously worked as a head theatre nurse in referral and has experience in education. She has lectured for organisations including the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and authored several articles for veterinary nursing publications. Helen Farrant joins Linnaeus after working as a nursing training manager and is a member of the BVNA advisory board. Both Alison and Helen sit on the editorial board for the Veterinary Nursing Journal.

Andrea commented:

“Alison and Helen bring so much knowledge to the team. Jointly their considerable experience in clinical nursing leadership, teaching and education will boost the clinical training and career development that we offer – further supporting our nurses in the care that they deliver to patients as they advance in their careers.”

For further information about the professional opportunities offered to veterinary nurses and patient care assistants at Linnaeus, please visit

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